The Aral Sea: It was once the fourth largest lake on Earth. But, over the past few decades, the sea has shrunk dramatically as the primary rivers that fed the Sea have been diverted and tapped nearly dry for cotton farming and other agriculture.
The southern part of the Sea was fed by the Amurdar’ya and the northern part was fed by the Syrdar’ya, forming a large inland lake that moderated the region’s continental climate and supported a productive fishing industry.
The diversion process began in the 1960s, and by 1989, the northern and southern half of the sea had already become virtually separated! Landsat satellite imagery shows the vast difference that has occurred in the Aral Sea in just 14 years.
Via: Earth Observatory